Great Britain’s best mixed martial artists will be on display as the UFC heads across the pond for an action-packed pay-per-view quality fight card airing on Spike TV (same day tape) on Saturday, October 20 at 9:00pm ET/PT emanating from the O2 Arena from London, England. In the main event, the first British winner of “The Ultimate Fighter”, Michael Bisping (season 3), takes on Japanese superstar Yoshihiro Akiyama in an international middleweight clash. For the co-feature, Nottingham, England’s tough-talking Dan “The Outlaw” Hardy takes on American Carlos Condit in a welterweight contest.
Michael “The Count” Bisping (20-3), fighting out of Manchester, England with the Wolfslair MMA Academy, was the victor in “The Ultimate Fighter 3” under the tutelage of coach Tito Ortiz in 2006. Bisping won two of his next three fights in the Octagon® before dropping down in weight class from light heavyweight to middleweight, where he proceeded to win his next three contests including a victory over Chris Leben at UFC 89 in front of his fellow countrymen in Birmingham, England. Since then, Bisping has continued to fight the 185 lb division’s toughest competitors, including Wanderlei Silva, Dan Miller, Dan Henderson and Denis Kang.
One of Japan’s finest mixed martial arts fighters, Akiyama (13-2, 2 NC) was the winner of the 2001 Asian Championships and 2002 Asian Games in judo. He made an impressive debut in the UFC at UFC 100 last July with a split-decision victory over Alan Belcher, earning “Fight of the Night” honors. Following a tough loss to Chris Leben at UFC 116, which also earned him a “Fight of the Night” bonus, Akiyama needs a victory over Bisping to continue his path to a title shot.
One of the world’s top welterweights, Hardy (23-7, 1 NC) most recently faced UFC champ Georges St. Pierre at UFC 111 in March. “The Outlaw,” in the biggest fight in his career, dropped a hard-fought five-round decision to the legendary Canadian fighter. Prior to his title shot, the 28 year-old Briton won his first four fights in the Octagon®, defeating such UFC notables as Akihiro Gono, Marcus Davis, Rory Markham, and Mike Swick. A victory over Condit furthers his quest for another shot at the coveted belt.
Condit (25-5), who trains in Albuquerque, New Mexico with the renowned Jackson’s MMA team, is one of the division’s top contenders. Despite being only 26, Condit is a mixed martial arts veteran and was the last man to hold the WEC welterweight belt. He has fought many of the sport’s biggest names including Martin Kampmann, Frank Trigg and Jake Shields.
Rising mixed martial arts star John “The Hitman” Hathaway (14-0), a former rugby player from Brighton, England, is a perfect 4-0 in his UFC career including an eye-opening decision victory over Diego Sanchez at UFC 114 in May. He will be tested by 11-year-veteran Mike “Quicksand” Pyle.
Fighting out of Las Vegas, Pyle (19-7-1) is a former WEC welterweight champion who is known for his world-class submission game and over a decade of pro MMA experience. Pyle most recently defeated Jesse Lennox via triangle choke submission in June at UFC 115.
The Spike telecast will open with a welterweight battle between “The Ultimate Fighter 9” winner James “Lightning” Wilks (8-3) from Leicestershire, East Midlands, England and Canadian Claude Patrick (12-1). Wilks, who defeated DaMarques Johnson last June in “The Ultimate Fighter 9” finale, most recently defeated Peter Sobotta at UFC 115 in June. His opponent, Patrick, fighting out of Toronto, was victorious in his recent Octagon debut, defeating Ricardo Funch via submission at UFC 115 in June.
Also on the fight card, a heavyweight showdown between Paris, France native Cheick Kongo (25-6-1) and undefeated Travis Browne (10-0). Kongo is returning to the arena where he enjoyed his finest moment in the Octagon, a decision victory over Mirko Cro Cop at UFC 75. Kongo recently scored an impressive over Paul Buentello in March. A native of Hawaii, the imposing 6’7 Travis Browne won his UFC debut in June over James McSweeney with a first round TKO.
Other bouts might air depending available time:
Cyrille Diabate (17-6-3) vs. Alexander Gustafson (9-1)
Stanislav Nedkov (11-0) vs. Steve Cantwell (7-3)